Top 40 Under 40 2017: Gregory B. May, PE, LEED AP

Sept. 15, 2017
Gregory B. May, PE, LEED AP, Practice Leader - Rail & Transit, Urban Engineers, Inc.
  • One word to describe yourself: Dynamic
  • Alma Mater: University of New Haven (also attended Villanova University and University of Pittsburgh)
  • Favorite hobby(ies): Travel, outdoor activities (skiing, climbing, hiking, sailing, swimming, etc.) and home improvement
  • Fun fact: He has climbed mountains in Alaska.
  • What is your favorite transit system (outside of the one you work for or have worked for!) and why?: He rides parts of SEPTA quite frequently (and they are one of his clients). He really admires New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority system including all of the member companies.

A second-generation railroader, Gregory B. May, PE, LEED AP BD+C, was lucky to be introduced to railroading at a young age by his father, Jeff, who worked for Conrail. Growing up, he would visit rail yard, bridge, tunnel, and terminal projects with his father. While other children played with toy trains, he got to see and be around the real thing. 

May comes from a long line of engineers, including his father, uncle, aunt, grandfather, and grandmother. This led to encouragement in math, science, engineering, and railroads and transit, as well as interesting dinner discussions. May later went on to work at Urban Engineers, where he worked hand-in-hand with his father, who led the firm’s rail and transit division. May now serves as Urban’s practice leader for rail and transit, where he oversees Urban’s rail and transit project design efforts for passenger and freight railroads throughout the country.

May also took over the leadership of Urban's national rail and transit design and construction management division a few years ago. Under May's leadership, Urban continues to serve a multitude of class 1 railroad and transit agencies around the country on complex and diverse engineering and construction support assignments. May has been instrumental in cultivating new opportunities with several agencies. Most recently, he was instrumental in securing an assignment as the engineer of record for the Washington Terminal Yard High Speed Rail Improvements project, at Amtrak's largest maintenance and storage yard on the Northeast Corridor, near Washington Union Station.

May actively participates and is a member of several national engineering, construction management, freight railroad, and transit organizations and he serves on several committees. He is frequently engaged to share his knowledge and "lessons learned" for the benefit of the industry. His insight, ability to satisfy clients, and availability at any hour of the day to support the needs of the projects he leads and the industry he supports is immeasurable. May truly is one of the rising stars in the railroad industry. Urban Engineers is fortunate to have a dedicated and talented leader like him.

A registered Professional Engineer, May is also a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction. May’s academic studies focused in mechanical engineering at Villanova University and the University of Pittsburgh, and then on civil engineering at the University of New Haven. He is a member of such organizations as the American Railway Engineering & Maintenance-of-Way Association, the American Public Transportation Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Steel Construction, the Metropolitan New Your Railway Club, and the Project Management Institute.

As Vice President and Practice Leader, May oversees strategic pursuits while also serving as a project and program manager. He is experienced in all phases of engineering design and construction on a wide variety of rail projects including right-of-way, track, yard, structures, building facility, and station projects. His rail project experience includes work for several class 1 freight railroads as well as regional and national passenger rail agencies. May has worked on projects in almost every region in the United States. May is skilled in leading multi-discipline project teams to safely and successfully deliver quality capital projects and programs on time and within budget. He is experienced in leading and managing projects from the planning and conceptual stages through preliminary engineering, detailed and final design, procurement, construction, testing, commissioning, and transition to operation. He is experienced in planning, coordinating, leading and overseeing design efforts, generating and analyzing cost estimates and developing and managing project schedules, developing design reports, and coordinating and progressing capital project programs to successful completion. He is highly skilled in implementing these projects and programs in active operating railroad and transit environments with minimized impacts to operations.

"One of my fondest railroading memories was getting to check out and actually drive a locomotive — only a few feet — when I was about 12 years old. I was hooked on railroading at that point."

"It’s not something that most people get to enjoy. It really has connected us more closely and I’m thankful  for that."

"An important lesson that I learned early on was that our industry is about people. Relationships are very important. So is one’s reputation. My 10 years in Connecticut reinforced this important idea."

"Working on transit and rail projects has been a blast," he said. "The freight railroads are amazing. They manage to build, operate, and maintain a nationwide transportation network without public funding."